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Old 03-30-2012, 07:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Nissan?

So I have been looking at building an "expedition camper". I know Mitsubishi has the fuso FG in 4wd but I think I want to do a 4wd conversion myself. I'm looking to do a short box at cab height with a pop up similar to an Earth cruiser. most likely a rack on the back for 1 or 2 small dual sports, most likely tw200's. Total weight should be around 11k from what I have been seeing. I'm looking for input on a few things.

What platform would you start with? I want a 4 cylinder diesel. Preferably a manual trans. AC in the cab is a must. Cruise control is an added bonus. I really want a forward cab to get the most living space out of the overall length of the vehicle and I just like the way they look.

What axles would you run? I know a few have been done with dana 60's but I'm worried about the weight capacity. I would like to stay 8 lug and use single wheels. Most likely re-centered 12bolt hummer wheels with mil surplus tires in the 37x12.5 variety. Disc brakes all around would be great.

What transfer case? Divorced NP205 is the cheap option. Low range is only 2 to 1. Can you install a 205/203 doubler on a divorced case? An atlas divorced case is a more expensive option but would give me a better low range ratio.

Thanks in advance,

Chip
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think an Isuzu/Chevy/GMC NPR would be easiest to find. They already have a solid front axle so I doubt it would be hard putting a 60 up front. The rear axle is bigger than a lt truck so a d60 would be a downgrade. Also they have some huge 6 lug pattern on the wheels. So you might be better to haul 2 kinds of spares, and keep the og rear axle and put a 60 up front. I dont know anything about the Mistu or Nissans. Normally I would say Nissan anything but here I vote Isuzu.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The plan would be to swap both axles out to have the same lug pattern and equal widths. For a fron axle I was thinking maybe a dana 70 or 80 hybrid front axle. Rear could be a 14 bolt similar. Axles with a decent gear and locker selection would be nice. Selectable lockers front and rear would be my first choice.
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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/forum/tow-rigs-trailers/860808-mitsu-fuso-isuzu-npr-hino-cube-trucks.html

/forum/tow-rigs-trailers/962860-izuzus.html

/forum/expedition-vehicles/856106-isuzu-npr-expo-rig-anyone-have-pics.html

http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showt...php?p=13131861

/forum/tow-rigs-trailers/726380-isuzu-box-truck.html

/forum/tow-rigs-trailers/371583-isuzu-npr.html

/forum/toyota-land-cruiser/79854-isuzu-4bd-1t-npr-box-truck-revisited.html

also hit expedition portal forum, there is an FG/Fuso subforum there, but there is lots of info on NPR and other small trucks there too.

for axles get a set of take outs from a wrecked 3/4 ton or 1 ton truck. Then you have 8 on 6.5 bolt pattern (or the stupid metric Ford version) plus all the options of the one ton truck aftermarket (gears, lockers, wheels, etc)

The newer cabs are much less comfortable to me than the old ones. They are "nicer" and prettier and roomier, but the seats are awful. Check out Busbee's truck yard in SC, Doug is pretty knowledgable and I have been to his yard, its fucking huge... Dont go by the website, it is not up to date, call the office.
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info and links. I have read most of those but I missed a few before. So you think a 60 front would be up to the task? That would be great with a 70hd rear. Decent gearing and locker options for both.

When you say the older cabs are more comfortable what years are we talking about. I will probably try for an NPR from the early 2000s for the hp gain.

What would you consider the cutoff for mileage? I can't see me putting more than 10k a year on it so I don't need super low mileage but don't want to be replacing everything in a year either. Obviously I willmlook for a truck with decent service records.

Have you ever crawled under one? And reason to consider s drivers drop over a passenger drop front or vise versa?
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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rear axles are beef as noted, only a few thousand pounds on the rear of a chassis cab, if that and most are rated to 12-14k so the rear axle could potentially carry 10k or so, not sure how you would do that on such a small truck but they are D80 size or bigger I would say.

A D60 from a 3/4 ton would be ok ALA you were careful with your weights. A 2003 Fuso FE regular cab is rated at 5500 Front and 10k Rear axle. I would say early to mid 2000's would be a good target for price and mileage, just have to shop around. In Atlanta they get used for city delivery and landscape and city wreckers and I am sure the drivers beat the shit out of them.

FG is only US 4WD and you can pick the older ones up at reasonable prices, but they have a bit of a cult following and are not as cheap as the 2wd Fusos and Isuzu's from what I have seen.

If you have the cash, build or upgrade a 60 with kingpins instead of balljoints and see if you can match or exceed the factory I-beam axle rating.

4BT swaps has tons of info on the Isuzu motors, but I dont know much about them other than they are similar to a 4B Cummins and some models can be turned up for more power. Search for Dieselcruiserhead posts. The motors and chassis will last a long damn time, they are very well built trucks, that said one that has a few hundred thousand hard miles on it may be a money pit. Never owned one personally, only driven them here and there. Isuzu has the advantage of 80% of the cabover market in the US, so there are dealers and parts everywhere. I have heard they are a better built truck than Fuso, but that may be a Ford v Chevy thing, dunno.

They do sit low, stock tires are only 30-31" tall on most models and while you could do a small spring or shackle lift and fit 32-33" tires, I dont know if that wll be enough for your plans. A 37" tire is pretty big on an NPR and because you are sitting on the tire, you may have some issues with lift and clearance there. You may want to reconsider your tire size. There is a guy on Expedition Portal called Amesz or something like that in Australia and he had 38" Michelins on a FG Crew Cab and it was pretty damn big, looked good but it was tall for sure.

Whatever you swap consider getting parts from a Suburban or 3/4 ton truck or something that there are a million of on the road, easy to find parts, people know how to work on them etc.

I would like to build one of these little rigs one day, I think they are pretty cool, just not in the cards right now. Good luck on your project and start a build thread if you do it.

Cheers,

EDIT: if you dont need dually rear, check out a 19.5 wheel and tire combo (cheap steel wheels) and a 34-35" tire rated for at least 5000 pounds. Many people who do super single conversions use spacers or have different offset rims and it just does not seem right to me. I would rather engineer it to be right from the beginning. The tires should last forever on that truck with your planned mileage. Rickson and several other companies have 19.5 wheels to fit 3/4 ton truck patterns with no adapters or spacers. Im sure there are threads on here about it.

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Old 05-08-2012, 06:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Not much to add, except that you CAN take a straight truck like the ones you describe and do the 4x4 conversion to it.

http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showt...762&highlight=

This one grew beyond what it was intended to be, but it can be done.
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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my 2c on the npr chassis, in stock trim the 4cyl diesel (at least the one I drove) was SLOOOOWWWWWWWWW as all getup when loaded with even a small car on the slant back, (most hills it slowed down to like 30 going up even small hills) i think it would need LOTS of improvements to be useful offroad, but im sure theres more than one turbodiesel for those.. I think a 4bt would work well in that truck... at least what i hear about em....
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Old 05-23-2012, 11:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
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If I was going to buy one of the trucks, I would buy a 6cyl. I sent a year with a pair of UD wreckers. 1 4cyl auto, 1 6 cyl auto. They both ran the same lift, tank size, and gears. The 6cyl was better on fuel, better on hills,and broke down less. It didn't have to struggle like the 4cyl. So, with the weight you are talking, look into a 6cyl. I averaged about 600 miles a night on either truck, short time behind the wheel,but lots of mile in them trucks in that year.

Good luck and I think the build would be fun to watch.
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